Renewable energy legislation proposed by Indi MP Helen Haines will be investigated by a parliamentary committee in a crucial first step.
The Australian Local Power Agency Bill 2021 was introduced in the House of Representatives in February and referred to the Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy.
Confirmation the committee would conduct an inquiry into the bill came through on Wednesday.
This is expected to start after the committee has finished its current inquiry into Zali Steggall's Climate Change Bill.
The group will then make recommendations to government about whether to adopt the bill.
Dr Haines described the committee's decision to hold an inquiry as the "first time ever the Federal Parliament will officially consider legislation on community-owned renewable energy".
"The bill really opens opportunities for regional development right across the nation and especially here in Indi, to allow us to truly benefit from what is a massive boom in the building of renewables," she told The Border Mail.
"It's had a lot of attention since it was launched last September.
"Prime Minister Scott Morrison can see the real value in this for regional development.
"Likewise, the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction (Angus Taylor) has given me a very positive response to the bill."
The House Environment and Energy Committee has just announced it will hold an inquiry into my Australian Local Power Agency Bill 2021. This is the first time ever the Federal Parliament will officially consider legislation on community-owned renewable energy. pic.twitter.com/MpzQnqSgN3— Helen Haines MP (@helenhainesindi) March 24, 2021
Under the bill, which members of the public will be able to write submissions on for the environment and energy committee, two investment schemes would give backing to projects that are at least 51 per cent community-owned.
"If this piece of legislation I've put to the government is accepted, that would set up structural reform that we need to enable funding to go to the three platforms of this," Dr Haines said.
"We know the boom is happening, but regional Australia will be left behind if government doesn't act and make sure by adopting this legislation - the profits will go out of regional Australia.
"This would apply to future plans and it would ensure large energy companies who wish to set up a large scale solar, wind or renewable energy project, have an obligation to make an offer to the local community to invest in the project and share in the profits.
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"We've set that at 20 per cent, that's of course open to others' views, but that's what I've put forward.
"In doing that, that means that everyday citizens in those towns, the local council, has the opportunity to buy shares so the profits are coming back to town ... so all the profits aren't going offshore or somewhere else."
The bill was developed "in collaboration with an expert panel" including Totally Renewable Yackandandah.
President Juliette Milbank said there were more than 90 submissions from across Australia informing the bill's development.
"The bill is a comprehensive suite; there is an individual group level, a medium-scale project level in conjunction with community energy groups and one at the large, commercial scale," she said.
Dr Milbank was present in Parliament for the bill's launch and was positive about its chances to progress.
"We had quite a receptive audience; we spoke to quite a few people when we were there and we weren't fobbed off,"
"People who were responsible for regional electorates could really see the benefits of this.
"We heard that if this bill gets referred to the committee, which it is, that would be a really good thing and there would be a good possibility it will get up in some form.
"We'll have to see what the committee's recommendations are, but we will still be pushing for all elements of the ALPA bill."